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The Most Breathtaking Coastal Destinations

When you arrive at a beautiful coastline, the temptation is to head for the beach and stay there. You bask in the sound of the water lapping the shore. The destinations listed below boast stunning beaches. But many people need to realize this. Beyond the dunes, there is much more to explore. There are coastal drives, wild encounters, and clifftop hikes. For instance, after a day of hiking, you can unwind with some live betting, adding a dash of excitement to your evening. The shore and a drink may be irresistible. But you’ll get more out of these places if you’re ready to explore.

South Africa

The waters off Cape Town’s shores offer some of the wildest encounters on the planet – if you know where to look.

Down on the Cape Peninsula, you used to be able to swim with the African ‘jackass’ penguins of Boulders Beach. Those days are gone, but you can still see these fantastic seabirds from the boardwalks. They’re a feisty bunch, known for making a strange braying sound (hence the nickname). But, they will totter a few feet from visitors.

As thrilling are the 6000 Cape fur seals congregating on Seal Island, a few kilometers from False Bay. Between January and March, you’ll see a whole house. When the atmosphere becomes less welcoming, great white sharks make their appearance.

Few thrills are more significant than getting close to the ocean’s top predator. Seal Island’s shark-diving trips bring you eye-to-eye with a killer. You’ll be exploring underwater while safely enclosed in a reinforced cage.

The best sighting is a two-hour drive east of Cape Town in Hermanus, one of the world’s top whale-watching spots. You can see Southern right whales from the shore from June to November. Taking a boat tour is worth the extra cost for a closer look at humpbacks from May to December.

America

California’s and Florida’s coasts are very different, but they share a common trait: they’re home to two of the most scenic road trips in the US. The US is always at its best when seen through a car’s windshield.

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is the homeland of writer Jack Kerouac. It runs from San Diego in the south to San Francisco. It forms a scenic funnel through the coast’s mountains, beaches, and boho villages.

The PCH winds 900km from the silvery peaks of Big Sur, stubbled with towering redwoods. It then goes to the wineries of San Luis Obispo and the beachside glamour of Santa Barbara. The road offers a two-sided view of rugged nature and Hollywood glitz. It’s a glorious part of the great American adventure.

On the East Coast, swap Kerouac for novelist Ernest Hemingway. Things will be no less dramatic on the Overseas Highway (US 1). This 180km road trip begins south of Miami at Key Largo, and from there, it traverses the islands of the Florida Keys.

Sometimes, it feels like the highway is suspended over the ocean. Highlights along the way include reef tours, Everglades trips, and the Turtle Hospital at Marathon. The final stop is at stunning Key West, where Hemingway lived for many years.

Australia

Numerous attractions await just off the shores of Perth, sure to captivate the curious mind. Rottnest Island is home to the inquisitive quokka. It is a small marsupial that likes to shuffle up to visitors. The island is one of the more adorable attractions. Head north for Ningaloo, the world’s largest fringing coastal reef. Go south for one of the state’s true gems.

Many walk the Cape to Cape track, which follows one of Earth’s most dramatic coastlines. It passes through the Margaret River region and meanders 123km. Between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Lueewin, it passes cliffs, caves, vineyards, and waterfalls through bush and forest. Slap Bang, in the middle of the trail, is the pleasant town of Margaret River.

The region is renowned for two main attractions: its excellent surfing opportunities and its exceptional wine. The former takes shape in the 75 breaks that cause waves to batter its shores, while the vineyards here are among Australia’s finest. Slipping from cellar door to cellar door (there are about 95) is a great way to see the region. You can drop in to sip the best of Vasse Felix, Margaret River’s oldest surviving winery.

The adventurous can also explore the karst cave network along the coast. It includes the gargantuan Mammoth Cave, surrounded by karri forest—a wild finish to any visit.

The Maldives

The Maldives is all about getting in (and under) the water. The islands are for snorkeling and diving. There are incredible sights to see, even at night.

Between April and November, there’s a chance to spot bioluminescence. These blooms of light-emitting plankton light up the shore like fallen stars. They give late-night strolls a thrilling edge. Bioluminescence is a defense mechanism. It scares off predators. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles in nature.

During the day, the Maldives gets even more exciting. From June to October, boat trips to Baa Atoll’s Hanifaru Bay let you see whale sharks and manta rays feeding. Sign up for the Manta on Call program for alerts when mantas are nearby. When they are spotted, you’ll be taken by a speedboat to swim with these gentle giants.

Then there are the reefs themselves. Shark safaris and dolphin encounters are standard. But snorkeling the shallows of any of the 82 islands of Ari Atoll is magical. Velidhu Island is like an aquarium. Vilamendhoo is known for its hawksbill turtles. For snorkeling, go in the dry season (December to April). It offers the most transparent waters. Then, you can plunge into another world.

Final Thoughts

These coastal destinations offer more than beautiful beaches; they promise unforgettable adventures. You can find wild encounters in South Africa. America has scenic road trips. Australia has dramatic landscapes. The Maldives has underwater wonders. Each place has its charm. Relaxing on the beach is tempting. But going beyond the sands reveals fantastic experiences. Embrace the journey and discover all that these coastal paradises have to offer.

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